If you think about it, 2017 is kind of an auspicious year for the work of beloved nerd icon Joss Whedon. It's the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of course, but it's also the fifth anniversary of The Avengers and the 15th anniversary of Firefly. Add in the news that he's joining DC Films for the next phase of his career with a Batgirl movie and you could start to get pretty reflective if you're a longtime fan.
As I got reflective about Whedon this year, it seemed like a look back at all of Buffy might be the way to go, but that's been done before. Then, when I realized the confluence of other Whedon anniversaries this year, I started thinking: What if you ranked the Buffy episodes and the Firefly episodes at the same time? But why would you do that if you didn't also consider Angel, Dollhouse and the movies?
Which pretty much brings us to now, and a deranged assignment I somehow volunteered for: a definitive and highly scientific* ranking of all of Whedon's genre screenwriting, from TV episodes to movies and beyond (beyond pretty much meaning Dr. Horrible).
Yes, I really did do that, and yes, it really is as ludicrous as it sounds.
The full list is below, and beyond that lies a comments section via which to share your thoughts. First, though, a few notes on parameters:
1. This list is genre screenwriting only, so we're not including episodes of Roseanne or his adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.
2. This is credited screenwriting work only, so films for which Whedon did uncredited rewrites (like Waterworld) are not included.
3. Credited screenwriting work includes Whedon's contributions as co-writer or story contributor. I have noted those contributions whenever they apply. Any entry that does not include a specific contribution notation indicates that Whedon is the sole credited writer.
4. In some cases, Whedon was credited even when his writing contributions were either altered or not used. I have taken this into consideration whenever possible.
5. By "genre screenwriting work," I mean the writing as it appears in final form when presented to the consumer. That term is used for simplification purposes and does not mean this is a ranking arrived at simply by reading scripts. Such a thing would be tedious, and besides, we're all really here to talk about the final product.
6. As this is a ranking of writing work, things like bad special effects and wooden performances are, whenever possible, not held against the writer.
Well, that about covers it. Now, come with me on this insane adventure, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
*NOTE: This ranking is neither definitive nor highly scientific. It's also possible I went insane while putting it together. Wheeeeeee!